Lisa Says: HRT, mammographies, Bio-identical hormones, Vitamin D – Dr. Mercola hits it all in this article. There are multiple other posts we have on our blog about these subjects. After what we’ve researched over the last 2 years in Rex’s journey naturally from cancer to health, I will never personally have a mammogram again, nor take HRT, based on the clinical data I have studied. That is a very personal decision each woman needs to make for herself, but AFTER she’s studied the research on both sides of the fence.
The Real Reason Why Breast Cancer is Plummeting
The death rate due to cancer has declined in the United States in recent years. In fact, 650,000 lives were spared from cancer between 1990 and 2005.
A decrease in deaths from breast cancer accounted for 37 percent of the reduction in the death rate among women during the 15-year period. This is largely due to a decreased use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has been shown to increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
HRT fell out of favor after a large government-funded study known as the Women’s Health Initiative was stopped early because the risks of HRT, including an increased risk of breast cancer, greatly outnumbered the benefits of the therapy.
CNN May 27, 2009
CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians June 9 2009 [Epub ahead of print]
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Cancer rates in general are on a decline, but it’s still the number one killer in America. Nearly 1.5 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2009. In all, more than 1,500 people die from cancer each day, accounting for nearly one out of every four U.S. deaths.
Fortunately, the realization that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was causing breast cancer, and the subsequent decrease in use of artificial hormones, has led to a 37 percent reduction in death rates among women.
That’s impressive, and a testament to just how devastating an incorrect pharmaceutical intervention can be. Just imagine what might happen to mortality rates if we stopped swallowing a number of dangerous drugs that are currently taken by millions of people, day in and day out!
How Drug Companies Fooled Me and Most Doctors
As little as ten years ago, conventional medicine touted HRT as THE answer to women’s post-menopausal health.
Interestingly, shortly after I completed my residency training program in 1985, I was actually a paid lecturer for the drug company that sold Premarin, the horse-based estrogen that was sold to women in menopause.
I promoted it because after carefully reviewing the “scientific” literature for over a year, it certainly seemed that it had far more benefits than downsides. However, this was my introduction in the mind-bending manipulation that the drug companies had been using for many decades.
They had meticulously bought off the leading physicians in this area of research with huge speaking engagements and grants, and were able to facilitate their articles being published in the most respected medical journals.
By using this strategy, they were able to completely pervert the scientific process and as a result, convince nearly the entire medical community, generating billions of dollars in profits from the sale of these unnatural hormones for humans.
It took me several years to recognize how these companies manipulated the system but eventually I learned the truth and stopped prescribing and recommending HRT as conventionally recommended.
In fact the leading proponent of using estrogen in the 1960’s, Dr. Robert A. Wilson, established a sham research foundation and wrote his seminal book, “Feminine Forever”, all with secret pharmaceutical company funds. His research institute and treatment recommendations were later found to be fraudulent, but by the time this was discovered the theory of using estrogen had been well established and carried on with it’s own momentum even in the face of research to the contrary. Every medical doctor in the United States fell into this trap of misinformation and mistruth and these dangerous prescribing practices continued for almost forty years.
The Dangers of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Even powerful multi-national, billion-dollar drug firms can’t squash the truth forever. Eventually the truth came out in the form of a large government-funded study known as the Women’s Health Initiative, which exposed the real dangers of HRT. The hormone trials were stopped early when researchers discovered an increased risk of breast cancer and other side effects that greatly outweighed the benefits of the therapy.
Just ONE YEAR after millions of women quit taking HRT, incidents of breast cancer fell by seven percent!
It is hard to describe how frustrating it was to argue against arrogant and ignorant physicians back then, who claimed that this form of treatment was actually helping women.
Other studies looking at the long-term usage of synthetic estrogen have revealed many negative side effects, including:
High blood pressure
The following hormone prescriptions now carry black box warnings:
Premarin. Premarin is an estrogen extracted from a pregnant mare’s urine and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Estrogen Therapy. Estrogen, which is extracted from Premarin, was effective in combating some menopausal symptoms but proved to have serious, negative side effects, such as the increased risk of breast cancer and an increase in insulin levels.
Provera. This drug contains a synthetic form of progesterone called PROGESTIN, which has well-documented, negative side effects such as blood clotting. Progestin is probably even more dangerous than Premarin and is the same class of hormones that are in all birth control pills.
There’s no question that nearly all medicinal estrogen is unhealthy and can cause more problems than they prevent. Studies have found that HRT increases your breast cancer risk by at least one percent per year, and HRT with progestin increases your risk by eight percent per year, potentially going as high as 30 percent after just four years of use.
HRT was at one point also thought to protect against heart disease, bone fractures, and Alzheimer’s disease. But none of those claims turned out to be true either after more diligent investigation.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
There are far better and less risky alternatives to HRT, such as bioidentical hormones. For more information about bioidenticals, please view my recent video on this topic.
Bioidentical hormones have never been associated with the dangers of Premarin and synthetic progestins like the ones uncovered in the Women’s Health Initiative, and it is likely that they never will be, as they are natural human hormones.
However there are many potential dangers to using bioidentical hormones and they need to be prescribed by someone who is very knowledgeable in this area. If one simply measures female hormones and then supplements with bioidentical hormones, most likely they will NOT do better.
This is because the ideal way for most women to balance their hormones is to FIRST normalize their adrenal hormones with lifestyle changes like stress reduction, exercise and diet. Once that is done it becomes MUCH easier and far more likely that a successful hormone balance will be achieved.
One of the best ways to address adrenal hormones is through a 24-hour saliva test from a reputable lab. You need to find an experienced health care clinician that has helped many other women achieve good results. It would be wise to ask for names and numbers of other women who were treated so you can confirm for yourself that their treatment worked well.
If this is a challenge for you, another option is our website. We are actually in the process of developing a program where women will be able to do this on our website later this fall, so stay tuned.
What Do Mammograms Have to Do With it?
Another reason mentioned as a cause for the decline in breast cancer deaths is simply delayed diagnosis, as many women are not getting their yearly mammogram. Said Dr. Marisa Weiss, the president and founder of advocacy group Breastcancer.org,
“Fewer women are getting mammography and that’s why fewer women are getting diagnosed with breast cancer, so eventually that will come back and bite us in the rear end.”
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women get a mammogram every year or two after age 40.
I disagree with this recommendation, and don’t believe it is part of the overall reduction in the number of breast cancer cases. If anything, the reduction in mammograms may actually be another factor that is driving the breast cancer rate down.
The benefits of mammograms are highly controversial, while the risks are well established. A startling study published in The Lancet in 2001 concluded that previous research showing a benefit of yearly mammograms was flawed, and that widespread mammogram screening is unjustified.
Specifically, the Danish researchers argued that earlier studies in Europe and North America were improperly randomized and that they used a faulty definition of breast cancer survival.
Meanwhile, the technology carries a first-time false positive rate of up to 6 percent.
False positives can lead to expensive repeat screenings and can sometimes result in unnecessary invasive procedures including biopsies and surgeries. Just thinking you may have breast cancer, when you really do not, focuses your mind on fear and disease, and is actually enough to trigger an illness in your body. So a false positive on a mammogram, or an unnecessary biopsy, can in and of itself damage your health.
Not to mention that women have unnecessarily undergone mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapy after receiving false positives on a mammogram. And as you may already know, chemotherapy comes with the potential side effect of cancer later on!
I recommend you read my previous article detailing the shortcomings of mammograms, and the highly advanced, but much maligned, alternative detection tool for breast cancer called breast thermography. I even offer a free PDF report on this marvelous cancer screening test.
How to Virtually Eradicate Cancer
There is now overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that many of the 560,000 cancer deaths expected to occur this year could have been safely prevented with one simple lifestyle change – sun exposure.
If health officials would simply recommend that you get some sensible sun exposure, or supplement with oral vitamin D3 if you can’t get out into the sun, there could be major advances made in the fight against cancer.
In fact, a standard recommendation like that could potentially cut cancer rates in half! I can’t think of ANY other intervention that could possibly come close to that.
One recent study also points out vitamin D’s potential in treating breast cancer; not just in preventing it. They found that calcitrol (the active form of vitamin D) can induce a tumor-suppressing protein that inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells specifically.
In addition to something as basic as spending time in the sun, even the American Cancer Society states that about one-third of the cancer deaths expected to occur in 2009 will be related to overweight or obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
The final nail in the coffin for most would be to have excessive iron levels. This is actually very common once women stop menstruating. The extra iron actually works as a powerful oxidant, increasing free radicals and raising your risk of cancer.
All you need to do is measure your ferritin level and if it is above 80, just donate blood, which will reduce the amount of iron that you have.
Just imagine: if the focus of cancer prevention and treatment shifted from the current allopathic view to one that embraced a healthy diet, physical exercise, and appropriate sun exposure, cancer would likely fade into the shadows and become a rarity – as it should be.
Hormone Replacement Therapy When Is It Necessary?
Another study links HRT to breast cancer risk
2008 Cancer Advances That Actually Make Cancer Worse